College Research Paper Outline Apa

The guidelines from the American Psychological Association or APA are used for writing papers and doing assignments in the social sciences. They have guidelines for research papers, from the initial title page to the final works cited page. The APA even provides format examples for outlines to be prepared before the paper is written.

Understanding the APA Outline Format

When you look at the basic APA outline format example in this article, you will see that Roman numerals are used for the main headings in your outline, and capital letters are used for the sub-headings. Inside the sub-headings you use Arab numerals and lower case letters, in that order followed by Arab numerals in parenthesis.

The full sentence outline is set up the same way, but with full sentences on each level of the outline.

A less common form is the decimal outline, and your professor will tell you which kind of outline to use.

The best way to gain an understanding of the APA outline format is to look at examples. Following are three APA outline format examples. To save space in the examples, only the first section of the outline will show the proper spacing.

The College Application Process (Basic APA format)

I. Choose Desired Colleges

     A. Visit and evaluate college campuses

     B. Visit and evaluate college websites

          1. look for interesting classes

          2. note important statistics

               a. student/faculty ratio

               b. retention rate

II. Prepare Application

     A. Write Personal Statement

          1. Choose interesting topic

               a. describe an influential person in your life

                    (1) favorite high school teacher

                    (2) grandparent

          2. Include important personal details

               a. volunteer work

               b. participation in varsity sports

     B. Revise personal statement

III. Compile resume

     A. List relevant coursework

     B. List work experience

     C. List volunteer experience

          1. tutor at foreign language summer camp

          2. counselor for suicide prevention hotline  

Full Sentence Outline Format

I. Man-made pollution is the primary cause of global warming.

     A. Greenhouse gas emissions are widely identified by the scientific

         community to be harmful.

          1. The burning of coal and fossil fuels are the primary releasers of

              hazardous greenhouse gases.  

(Full sentence outlines are often accompanied with an APA reference list on a separate page. Quotes within the outline must also utilize APA in-text citations.)  

Decimal Outline Format

1.0 Choose Desired College

     1.1 Visit and evaluate college campuses

     1.2 Visit and evaluate college websites

          1.2.1 Look for interesting classes

          1.2.2 Note important statistics

Tips on Creating an Outline

A well-written outline is a valuable tool in presenting a well-written research paper. The outline is the first step in creating the structure for what will be said in the paper as well as how it will be said.

Here are a few tips:

  • Use parallelism - Parallelism refers to the structure between headings and sub-headings. The structure needs to remain consistent throughout all the headings and sub-headings. For example, this means if you start each heading with a verb, then all your headings and subheadings should start with a verb.
Example: "Choose Desired Colleges" and "Prepare Application" "Choose" and "Prepare" are both verbs. However, it is preferable in an outline to use the present tense of the verb.
Example: "Visit and evaluate college campuses" and "Visit and evaluate college websites"
Example: "1. Note important statistics" and "2. Look for interesting classes"
  • Use coordination - Coordination is important between headings. In other words, all the headings should have the same amount of significance or importance. The rule applies to sub-headings as well, but their information will be less significant than the headings.
Example:
I. Choose Desired Colleges
   A. Visit and evaluate college campuses
   B. Visit and evaluate college websites
      1. look for interesting classes
      2. note important statistics
(College campuses and college websites are equally important.)  
  • Use subordination - Subordination is the relationship between the headings and the sub-headings.  Information in headings is general in nature, and the information contained in the sub-headings should be more specific, and so on to the other levels.
Example:
A. Describe an influential person in your life
     1. Favorite high school teacher
     2. Grandparent
(The category of influential people in your life is general, and a favorite teacher and grandparent are specific.)  
  • Use division - Division should be accomplished in this manner. Each heading needs to have at least two parts. It can have more, but if you have too many, then you may need to put in another heading or sub-heading or combine some of the divisions. 
Example:
A. Compile resume
     1. List relevant coursework
     2. List work experience
     3. List volunteer experience
(The heading "Compile resume" is divided into 3 parts.)

An outline is usually required when writing a paper for a college course. Be sure and ask your professor for the required format for your particular course.

Do you have a good example to share? Add your example here.

comments powered by

APA Outline Format Examples

By YourDictionary

The guidelines from the American Psychological Association or APA are used for writing papers and doing assignments in the social sciences. They have guidelines for research papers, from the initial title page to the final works cited page. The APA even provides format examples for outlines to be prepared before the paper is written.

Why and How to Create a Useful Outline

Summary:

This resource describes why outlines are useful, what types of outlines exist, suggestions for developing effective outlines, and how outlines can be used as an invention strategy for writing.

Contributors: Elyssa Tardiff, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2018-01-24 02:21:43

Why create an outline? There are many reasons, but in general, it may be helpful to create an outline when you want to show the hierarchical relationship or logical ordering of information. For research papers, an outline may help you keep track of large amounts of information. For creative writing, an outline may help organize the various plot threads and help keep track of character traits. Many people find that organizing an oral report or presentation in outline form helps them speak more effectively in front of a crowd. Below are the primary reasons for creating an outline.

  • Aids in the process of writing
  • Helps you organize your ideas
  • Presents your material in a logical form
  • Shows the relationships among ideas in your writing
  • Constructs an ordered overview of your writing
  • Defines boundaries and groups

How do I create an outline?

  • Determine the purpose of your paper.
  • Determine the audience you are writing for.
  • Develop the thesis of your paper.

Then:

  • Brainstorm: List all the ideas that you want to include in your paper.
  • Organize: Group related ideas together.
  • Order: Arrange material in subsections from general to specific or from abstract to concrete.
  • Label: Create main and sub headings.

Remember: creating an outline before writing your paper will make organizing your thoughts a lot easier. Whether you follow the suggested guidelines is up to you, but making any kind of outline (even just some jotting down some main ideas) will be beneficial to your writing process.

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *